What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
And it’s done! What a week. 363 – 368! Ithaca to NYC.
It’s been odd, this week more than most, knowing that it’s coming to an end in the coming days. There were moments of About time! excited, and moments of Maybe just one more loop? apprehension. The biking’s been good. Nothing has gone wrong and closing in on the end goal provided an easy way of falling into that dreamed-of zone where cycling becomes effortless. That’s not to say there weren’t crazy climbs, because there was (looking at you Pennsylvania), but with the momentum of a year coming to an end they weren’t enough to cause any delays.
Being in gung-ho mode, necessary to make the end in time, there’s been a lot of saddle time. That’s often lead to nights in the farmland of NY, PA and NJ states, riding at night on the empty roads. It was surprising how remote it can be considering how close it is to the biggest city in the US. One of those nights lead, by coincidence, to a roadside invitation to crash at a lakeside cottage where Marianna and Elizabeth, two Buddhists, were staying. They were awesome, insisted on making some amazing food, and it was an amazing place to chill out when most moments recently had been a bit of a head-spin.
A few days of cycling later, and it was the final day. So close to being done. So close that something was bound to happen. ‘Course it was. I got sloppy and stumbled onto the highway. In parts of North America you’re allowed on the highway, in others you’re not. In New York you’re not. It was a blast – flying down the shoulder, knowing that this was the fastest route, seeing the New York skyline for the first time and realising it was so close.
Oops. The police weren’t happy. Fortunately the officer was hilarious and other than an insistence to get off at the next exit, he wasn’t all that fussed. 90 minutes later I rolled into New York via George Washington Bridge and met my folks. It was like an ultra high definition skype call and amazing to see their faces after so long. And it was the end.
If you’re reading at this point, thank you! The emails and blog comments in the tough parts were a massive motivator, it played a huge role in seeing the trip through to the end. So thank you. And to everyone who donated or helped with a place to crash along the way or agreed to be featured in this project – I’m still blown away by how awesome you all were.
So that’s it. So much has happened that it’s a flurry, but it’s clear this was something special. The one-more-loop-thought has faded (for now) and it’s exciting to think about what happens next. Hopefully you’ll stick around as the blog will now get pretty fun – snippets of unpublished interview, retrospective articles, footage of getting blasted by sprinklers at 3am – but that’ll all start in a couple of weeks – for now I’m off to catch up on a years worth of half-sleep and wonder around the city until the flight home. And if anyone knows where to get the best slice of pizza here do just shout. Because pizza’s great. Thanks!